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ISP fleet sitting idle

ILLINOIS -- A lot of unused patrol cars are raising questions.
ILLINOIS -- A lot of unused patrol cars are raising questions. Dozens of Illinois State Police vehicles are sitting in the Capitol City and not on our roadways. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

The cars were bought, but they're reportedly not ready for the streets yet. There's still some equipment which needs to be installed before they're good to go. So, in the meantime, they just sit; brand new and ready to hit the road, but they don't have the green light just yet. They're missing something.

"The state of Illinois has the lowest per capita number of state employees of any state in the nation."

The Illinois State Police has been forced to operate with fewer people.

"Not having enough radio techs to install radios in state police cars."

Monique Bond, spokesperson for ISP, says it takes time.

"We are in the process of hiring permanent electronic equipment installers and repairmen to continue with the work. In the end, skilled installers will provide a more consistent schedule for all of our vehicle repair and install needs."

Bond says ISP wants the best equipment for its officers, so, in the meantime, these 73 Chevy Caprices will continue to sit idle.

"What's rational? In the money that we have to spend. Does it make a lot of sense to get the best equipment possible that we need and citizens deserve in police cars, for example, and yet, not be able to install it?"

Representative Raymond Poe (R) says the premise behind the car purchases made sense when the idea first came up.

"Every agency's staffing has been cut for years and years and that leads to public service and public safety issues."

Since 2010, $1 from every license plate renewal fee has gone to the fund to buy these patrol cars.

"Whenever we passed this bill, there was a lot of state police cars sitting out there with 200,000+ miles."

Saying, there was a need and it's still there.

"And, of all people in pursuit, we want people to have safe cars."

He says it's only a matter of time when they'll be put to use.

"We're down on state trooper count. I know that they're hiring some new classes, so that they can put people in those."

AFSCME says, just a few years back, there were about 40 repairmen on staff. That number currently stands at 17. Of that, only about five are qualified to do the work.
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